April 6, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Led by the five goal performance of senior Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) and outstanding defensive play by junior John LoCascio (Fairfield, N.J.), Villanova (4-6, 3-0) put on a dominate performance to claim their third BIG EAST victory of the season against Rutgers (2-9, 0-4) 11-9 on Saturday night at Villanova Stadium. With the win, Villanova remains undefeated in the conference while Rutgers falls to 2-9 overall and 0-4 in the BIG EAST.
The Wildcats never relinquished the lead and held the biggest of the game at 10-6 with 4:07 remaining in the contest before Rutgers rattled off three straight scores in 55 seconds to cut the Villanova lead at 10-9 with just 1:32 on the clock.
With LoCascio taking the ensuing faceoff, the Wildcats gained possession and earned an extra-man opportunity with 41 seconds left to play. An open net allowed senior Max Hart (Bethesda, Md.) to find Tim Mulrenan (Glen Ridge, N.J.) for an insurance goal with 25 seconds on the clock to give Villanova an 11-9 advantage.
Rutgers won the final faceoff of the contest and tallied two quick shots that registered high and hit the post in the final moments as their comeback attempt fell short on the evening.
The defensive trio of juniors Chris Piccirilli (Davidsonville, Md.), Jimmy Wyatt (Whitehouse Station, N.J.) and LoCascio combined for 18 ground balls and five caused turnovers on the night in an outstanding team effort. It also marked the highest single game goal total for Rice this season.
Head Coach Mike Corrado stated following the contest, "Rice stepped up and had a breakout game for us today with five goals. It was good to see him connect since he's been heavily defended against this whole season. LoCascio really dominated in the midfield and came up big for us in the second half by taking faceoff's and earning ground balls."
The Wildcats began the game up 2-0 just five minutes in the contest with goals from sophomore Kevin O'Neil (Cockeysville, Md.) and Piccirilli with assists from Hart. Piccirilli notched his second goal of the season on a defensive transition play, going coast to coast to find the back of the net to close out the quarter.
Rutgers found their footing in the second stanza and responded with consecutive scores from Matthew Klimchak and Jacob Coretti to tie the game at 2-2 with 3:31 remaining in the half before the Wildcats answered with two goals in less than two minutes from Rice and sophomore Eric Gartner (Malvern, Pa.). At intermission, Villanova claimed a 4-2 lead.
The third quarter saw a 3-1 goal advantage in favor of Rutgers with Klimchak netting two scores in addition to Brian Goss to tie the game at 5-5 with just 15 minutes left to play. Mulrenan tallied the lone Wildcat goal of the quarter.
Rice notched four of his five goals in a matter of 10:08 in the fourth quarter with assists credited to Nick Doherty (Bernardsville, N.J.), Will Casertano (Millbrook, N.Y.), Piccirilli and Gartner to put the `Cats up 10-6 before the Scarlet Knights began their comeback rally that landed just short.
Villanova dominated the stat sheet and outshot the Knights 47-35 on the night and also won the ground ball battle 32-28. Rutgers' Joseph Nardella claimed 17-of-24 attempts at faceoff for the evening while goalkeeper Steven Lusby tallied six saves after coming in for an injured Kris Alleyne in the first half.
Wildcat sophomore Reed Carlson (Arnold, Md.) tallied 10 saves in the victory including six in the second half to seal the win.
"To start the BIG EAST schedule 3-0 is great and gives us a good outlook as we move forward. Next week against St. John's is huge, they've been playing well and it's their home field advantage so we'll be ready for a fight," continued Corrado.
The Wildcats will return to action on Saturday, April 13th when they travel to No. 10 St. John's in Jamaica, N.Y. Game time is slated for 3 p.m.